weekend chops

I turn into a super chef when travel is around the corner. Knowing that I won’t be in my kitchen this long and extended weekend, worried me enough that I decided to put all the lingering ingredients to use this weekend. The accidental five pound bag of potatoes were put to good use last night with potato peanut tikki. They turned out pretty good. Tara enjoyed them too, since there was no spice in her version of it.Β 

The boiled chole from Friday were put to some good use with Chole kulche. I bought the kulche from the store. This version of chole is no oil, and needs no cooking. Agam’s Mom introduced us to this version of chole when we were in India last winter. We tried them again when they were here last summer. And finally I made them myself. Here’s a simple but finger licking recipe –

I cooked the boiled chole (2 cups) for 5 more minutes on high, in the instant pot, with 1/4 cup water. They need to be pretty mushy for this recipe. 

Chop a small onion, a small tomato. Finely chop some ginger – fine slivers taste the best. If you like it spicy, add some chopped green chillies. And of course chop a lot of green and lovely coriander.

Lightly roast cumin seeds, and make a fine powder in a mortar & pestle. 

Squeeze juice from 2 large lemons.

Salt to taste. You can also add kala namak, or chaat masala if you like

Toss all the ingredients together, and add a dash of salt, and tamarind-jaggery chutney.

Mix it well.

Voila! Enjoy with warm kulchas.

For the Aloo-Peanut tikki here’s what I did. Mix all the ingredients below together and make round bolls, flatten them on your palm. Take a little oil in a flat pan, and lightly fry the tikkis.

  • 4-5 boiled potatoes mashed
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • Green chillies and coriander leaves- finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin powder, 1tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup peanuts coarsely ground
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3 slices of bread – soaked in water, squeezed and mushed

These, Dadu’s bday cake and two cups of ginger chai were the culinary highlights weekend. 

Moong dal

We are so excited about our upcoming Seattle trip. All three of us lost our friends to Seattle last year, and as promised, we are heading there next weekend to meet up with friends we sorely miss.

This is a rather odd post, especially written for D. Instead of sending her a recipe of Moong dal in an email, I decided to put it here, so more folks can enjoy.

There are so many different ways to temper Moong dal, that I am losing the count, but here are a few ways I like it – and yes, I really like Moong dal. It is a comfort food for me.

Base step — Boil Moong Dal with lil salt and turmeric to a desired consistency. Some like it pureed, some like it whole, but cooked. Pick your type.

Tempering (1)

  • fine chop 1 small tomato
  • fine chop 1/2 small onion
  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • fry the onions in oil until they are translucent, slightly browned.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until they ooze out the pulp and skin begins to separate
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #2

  • fine chop 1/2 small onion
  • mince some garlic (4-5 pods for 1 cup of uncooked dal)
  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • fry the onions in oil until they are translucent, slightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and cook
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #3

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #4

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add panch phoran
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #5

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add mustard seeds, and curry leaves, until they splutter
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

If you like spicy version of these, add finely chopped green chilies to the tempering, or a pinch of garam masala when tempering. Voila!

Rasam like Sambhar

One of the advantages of learning cooking from the internet is that you are not tied to one particular cuisine or style of cooking. You experiment with different styles and use what works best for you.

I was craving simple daal chawal entire week. So before going to bed, I boiled some toor dal in prep for lunch. When I woke up this morning, I was craving some hot and spicy rasam. Conflicting temptations resulted in what I’d call a pretty decent experimental dish. Let’s call it – rasambhar πŸ˜‰

Boil 1 cup Toor dal with 2 cups water, turmeric, cumin powder and salt. 12min on high pressure and instant release.

For tempering use oil, mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves, whole red chili. Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter.

Add finely chopped tomatoes. Ripe and juicy tomatoes are best for this.

Add a heaped tsp each of cumin power and coriander powder. Crush some black pepper (a lot of it). And add 1 tbsp jaggery

Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes. Add 1 tbsp tamarind paste.

Add the boiled dal, and 1 cup water – depending on how thin you want this to be. Add salt as needed.

Seal and cook on high pressure for 3min. Quick release.

Add some freshly chopped coriander and enjoy with some steaming idlis.

I don’t use store bought rasam and sambhar masalas. They are pretty easy to make yourself and you get to control the ingredients.

No pictures since Agam, Tara and I licked the bowls clean in no time πŸ˜›

Payasam

Since Randy was coming for dinner, I indulged in making a sinful dessert tonight. Payasam/coconut milk kheer, in my instant pot. Recipe below.

I didn’t think I could put together a sumptuous meal for us on a weeknight. But when it comes to cooking for some of your favorite people – there is no stress, and just a lot of warmth and love.

He met Tara for the first time today. I hope Tara gets an opportunity to work for bosses like Randy in her career. A good manager can make a huge difference. I have not found a more competent consultant than him thus far. And even though our stint was short, surprisingly we keep running into each other. And every time I meet him, I learn something new, we eat home made curry, and talk about all sorts of things – CPQ, millennials, Trump, Pakistan, cricket, and travels. It is always easy to strike a memorable conversation with Randy.

Kheer –

2 cans of coconut milk

1/2 can of condensed milk

1/4 cup rice

Cardamom – 5-6 pods

Kesar – a few strands

Soak rice in water for 10min

Boil 1/2 cup water in the pot and then add coconut milk

Simmer on sautΓ© for 10min

Add condensed milk

Simmer for another 5 until it starts boiling

Add rice

Close the lid and set to high pressure for 20min

Open the lid immediately

Voila πŸ™‚

Healthy as can be .. banana bread

What do you do when you order twice the quantity of bananas that you were planning to consume in a week. You make banana bread. But that’s so not in line with the health reports. Well then you make that banana bread as healthy as it can be..

4 bananas – ripened and mashed

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 eggs

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup milk

Crushed nuts and raisins

Make the batter. I never mix the liquid ingredients and the solid ingredients separately. I just whisk them all together.

Bake for 50min at 350F.

Voila :))

Tara’s Chicken Fried Rice

Well there is nothing fried about this rice. But it is one of Tara’s favorite lunches and hence adding it here. May be one day when she grows up she will look at this recipe and make herself some.

Here’s how it goes.

  1. Chop the chicken in bite size chunks and let it soak in some soy sauce and sesame oil
  2. Add ghee + sesame oil to the instant pot
  3. Add chopped onions and saute them until cooked. Toss in the chicken and cook until it looks cooked from the outside.
  4. Add dashes of mirin, fish sauce and a little chili oil to the pot.
  5. Add minced ginger (a good qty of it)
  6. Add 1 cup rice and 1 cup water
  7. Toss in frozen peas and carrots.
  8. Season with salt.
  9. Seal the lid and set the pot to Rice setting. Turn Keep Warm on.
  10. Once timer goes up, let the rice cook on warm for 10min more. Open the lid and voila!

 

Comfort Food – Khichdi

Seriously! Getting back to an empty fridge and a full week ahead of you when you need to feed three stomachs, has never been this easy. Thanks to my buddy, instant pot.

I made a quick khichdi for lunch, cooked a curry, marinated the meats for the week, and made two of the 4 lunches for Tara for this week, and now I wait for my magic machine to make some yummy yogurt for me overnight. I can enjoy it in my smoothie tomorrow morning πŸ™‚

Here’s a quick khichdi recipe that requires less than 5 min of prep time and some 10min to cook. It has become our staple every time we come back from a trip.

 

  1. Turn on the pot. Set it to Saute. Add some ghee/oil.
  2. When pot turns hot, add the cumin, ginger, hing and red chilies and chopped onions. All the digestive goodness that your tummy desires after a long trip away from home πŸ˜€
  3. Add whatever frozen whatever frozen veggies you have in the freezer. I usually keep cauliflower, peas, carrots.
  4. Toss in the lentils and rice and top it off with water. [ 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup Moong Dal and 1/2 cup toor dal with 2 cups of water]
  5. Season with turmeric, salt.
  6. Seal the lid. Set it to rice setting and forget about it
  7. Add a spoon of ghee when you serve it. Delicious πŸ˜€